Alaska News Nightly: May 30, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Aiviq Captain Questioned At Kulluk Hearing

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The U.S. Coast Guard is expected to wrap up its inquiry today into what went wrong when the Shell drill rig Kulluk broke free of its towline and ran aground in late December.

On-Scene Coordinator Testifies On Kulluk

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Wednesday, the federal on-scene coordinator of the Kulluk grounding incident testified to investigators that before the rig departed he was confident that Shell was doing a good job.  Coast Guard Captain Paul Mehler said he wished he would have taken a closer look at the tug that was to tow the rig.

89 Bears Killed As Part Of Predator Control Program

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game took 89 bears this month as part of a predator control program approved by the Board of Game last year. The efforts are meant to encourage the growth of a struggling moose population in Southwest Alaska.

Galena Flood Waters Begin Receding

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Floodwaters are subsiding at Galena, after an ice jam on the Yukon River broke up last night. State Emergency Operation center Chief Mark Roberts says the blockage began giving way around 8 p.m. The state isn’t expecting major flooding in the down river communities of Koyukuk and Nulato. Roberts says conditions are looking better than previously feared because of the way the ice and water are moving.

Late Spring Triggers Fire Danger, Burn Bans In Southcentral, Interior

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The National Weather Service issued a ‘red flag’ warning for portions of Southcentral Alaska on Thursday. And burn bans are going in effect around the state.

Unusual Weather Causes Lull In Copper River Sockeye Run

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Unusual weather in Alaska’s Interior is causing a slowdown of an expected sockeye run on the Copper River.  On Wednesday, state Fish and Game fisheries managers issued a notice delaying the start of the Copper River personal use, or dipnet, fishery in the Chitina subdistrict.   Mark Sommerville is the area management biologist in Glennallen.  He says an unusually late breakup on the Copper and recent soaring temperatures are combining to create conditions that fish don’t like

Timber Communities Worry Over Fate Of Secure Rural Schools Program

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Alaska’s congressional delegation has expressed outrage over the requirement that timber communities pay back a chunk of their Secure Rural Schools subsidies as part of sequestration. But in the affected areas, there’s mostly a mood of anxiety as towns worry about what the move signals for the future.

Tesoro Fined For Clean Air Violations

Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai

Tesoro Corporation has been issued a fine of more than $1 million for violating provisions of the Clean Air Act.

State Searching For Potential Tustumena Ferry Replacements

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

In less than six weeks, the Tustumena ferry is supposed to wrap up repairs and set sail to Southwest Alaska. But the shipyard says that delivery date isn’t looking realistic.

As the state faces yet another blown deadline for getting the Tustumena back in service, they’ve started looking for other ships to pick up the ferry’s route. And it doesn’t have to be a perfect fit.